Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Electronics Production | January 05, 2011

EU Cartel settlements near record in 2010

European Commission fines on cartel behaviour have reached EUR 3.05 billion, the second highest total fine amount in one year since the EU began prosecuting cartel activity, says international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
The total fine amount recently only pushed past the EUR 3bn mark due in part to a recent EUR 800 million fine handed down to 11 airlines for colluding on air freight pricing and a EUR 649 million settlement with five Asian electronics companies for price-fixing on LCD panels for phones, computers and televisions. Martin Klusmann, co-head of Freshfields’ competition practice, says the high-profile, aggressive stance of the European Commission towards cartel activities means companies are more inclined to be helpful during the course of investigations. He also notes that settlements, whereby companies agree to admit participation in a cartel for a reduction on their eventual penalty and reduced rights of defence, have also been used for the first time this year and will increasingly be sought over the coming years. ‘Investigations are incredibly resource intensive so settlements were introduced to simplify the Commission’s administrative processes, reduce the number of appeals and to free up resources to prosecute more cases. However, it has taken some time for settlements to show some results with the first settlement being used this year on the cartel case involving 10 producers of memory chips or DRAMS used in computers and server who admitted guilt and suffered a EUR 331m penalty.’ ‘The second instance of settlements occurred earlier this month on a cartel case involving LCD makers with a cumulative penalty of EUR 649 million levied on a number of companies. Settlements have thus accounted for slightly under a third of the EC’s takings on cartel cases this year, it’s obvious it’ll be pushing for more of these types of results in the coming year.’ ‘There were seven [dawn raids] this year compared to nine last year, so while the numbers aren’t particularly remarkable what has changed is the amount of bodies and advanced technology being thrown at these raids. More inspectors are involved and the technologies used to take digital images of computers and other IT equipment are extremely advanced. Consequently, information gathered by the Commission is of a very high quality and when coupled with details of the raids finding their way into the media, it makes for an incredibly persuasive enforcement tool.’
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Load more news
February 15 2019 9:57 am V12.1.1-2